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A field of nine juveniles will contest this Sunday’s running of the Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland. NBC will be broadcasting live from Keeneland, with national TV coverage starting at 4:30 PM ET.
The well-traveled Kimari headlines the field after winning the Bolton Landing Stakes at Saratoga in her last start. She began her career with a blowout debut maiden special weight victory here against the boys, which led to a trip to Royal Ascot in her next start in the Queen Mary Stakes (G2). The Wesley Ward-trained filly ran well overseas, finishing a close second against a stellar field. Her main challenge here will come from Old Chestnut, who has impressively won two in a row. Last time out, he took home the Ontario Stakes at Woodbine, crushing his opponents by 3 3/4 lengths.
The winner of the Indian Summer Stakes will receive an automatic position in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) this fall at Santa Anita Park. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of California will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.
Here is a look at the full field:
#1 Old Chestnut – Since moving to the turf, this horse is a perfect two-for-two, with both victories going 5 furlongs at Woodbine. The first came in a maiden special weight before he took home the Ontario Racing Stakes last time out by 3 3/4 lengths. He has never trailed at any point on the lawn, so look for him to go to the front again, especially with this inside draw.
#2 Kimari – This filly will take on the boys once again after doing so on debut here in the spring. She had no trouble in that start, winning by 15 lengths, which led to a second-place effort at Royal Ascot in the Queen Mary Stakes (G2). Last time out, she found the Saratoga winner’s circle in the Bolton Landing Stakes, cruising by 4 lengths. There is no doubt that she is the classy horse in the race.
#3 Mystic Lancelot – Last year, trainer Todd Pletcher won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint with Bulletin, a feat he’ll look to duplicate with Mystic Lancelot. He was an impressive debut winner at Saratoga going 5 1/2 furlongs before shipping to Woodbine for a poor showing in the Summer Stakes (G1) last time out. That race’s distance was a mile, though, which makes him dangerous on the cutback here.
#4 Shippingport – He returns to the grass after taking home an off-turf maiden special weight last time out at Ellis Park. He is winless in two turf starts, but he did run fairly well to finish on the board in both. He looks capable of performing well on either surface, which will make him dangerous as he moves forward.
#5 Fast Scene – A big win going 5 furlongs on the turf last time out in the Woodbine Cares Stakes earned her a shot at tougher company. Overall, she has won three of four starts, all at Woodbine. This speedy filly will likely fly out of the gate early and should be the one who they all have to catch when turning for home.
#6 Axiomo – He will look to rebound after finishing eighth in his last start, the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes. He does have a nice turf win on his resume, coming on debut at Churchill Downs. This race is a bit shorter than his last start, which could make a big difference.
#7 Rockcrest – This is another Woodbine shipper coming into this race with a solid resume. He has won two of three starts, including the OLG Simcoe Stakes two starts back. Last time out, he was second in the Bull Page Stakes, losing by 4 1/4 lengths after getting bumped at the start. He’ll make his turf debut in this spot after running on only synthetic thus far.
#8 Johnny Unleased – He’ll give turf another try after running seventh in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes last time out. That was his first effort on turf, so he could improve with his second try on the surface. His best effort came at 5 furlongs when he broke his maiden over the Ellis Park dirt.
#9 Chimney Rock – Since sprinting on the turf, this horse has been tough to beat. In his third start, he finally got the conditions that he wanted at Saratoga, winning a maiden special weight going 5 1/2 furlongs on the lawn. That led to a start in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Stakes on just six days’ rest, where he lost by just a head after a furious rally. He has had more time off coming into this one, so he could be ready to run a big race.
The Indian Summer Stakes serves as one of 15 Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events this weekend at Keeneland, Santa Anita Park, and Belmont Park. Here is the full schedule for this coming weekend:
The American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events come to a close on Wednesday, October 9, with the running of the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland. That race will be a “Win and You’re In” for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
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